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Berkshire Grey struggles in first quarter as public company

Robotics and supply chain automation business’ revenue skyrocketed, but so did net losses

Berkshire Grey went public in July and has since begun scaling its automated warehouse robotics solution (Photo: Berkshire Grey)

AI-powered robotics and supply chain automation company Berkshire Grey reported its first earnings as a publicly traded company Thursday morning before the bell, revealing some early struggles for the business.

While Berkshire Grey’s revenue of $18.8 million in Q3 2021 was magnitudes greater than its $2.2 million in Q3 2020 and its $4.5 million in Q2 2021, it still missed on analyst expectations of around $21.7 million.

At the same time, the Bedford, Massachusetts-based company more than tripled its net loss year-over-year and widened losses on its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $32.3 million, compared to $13.8 million for the same period a year prior.

Berkshire Grey reported a net loss of $40.5 million, or 22 cents per diluted share, which missed on the analyst consensus estimate of a loss 10 cents per diluted share.

It’s been a rocky start for Berkshire Grey as a publicly traded company. In July, it completed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp., which sent the company public with a valuation of about $2.7 billion and the symbol NASDAQ: BGRY. Divided among its 220 million vested shares, that equates to around $12.26 per share, but Berkshire Grey began trading at about $10 per share.

Since then, shares are down around 40%, but the stock was actually trending up in premarket trading Thursday, jumping from $5.84 to $6.10. It popped a little bit more after markets opened, rising to around $6.25 in the early hours of trading.

That could be because Berkshire Grey, despite its losses, set record highs for demand –– it reached $184 million in total orders, including October’s orders, $70 million of which were served in 2021. New customers alone placed $11 million worth of orders in Q3.

“Overall, we are excited by both our progress this year and that it aligns with our long-term trajectory,” said CEO Tom Wagner in the earnings release. “The macros around the business are strong, we are proven and seeing repeat orders from blue-chip anchor customers according to plan, we are adding new customers through direct sales and partnering into the larger ecosystem. Great progress from our perspective, and this is only the beginning.”

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As Wagner mentioned, Berkshire Grey figures to see some tailwinds going into Q4, buoyed by its $25 million deal for repeat orders with an unnamed blue-chip company, which was announced Thursday alongside Q3 earnings.

Berkshire Grey also reported that its order backlog of $70 million at the end of 2020 grew to $113 million as of early October, an all-time high and a signal that demand is growing for the company’s supply chain automation solutions.

Those solutions include pick robotics, mobile robotics and software platforms across verticals including retail, e-commerce, 3PLs, grocery and parcels. The company’s robots have differing weight capacities and capabilities, and they generally operate on a grid to enable high-speed movement.

“It’s almost like the industry term [for speed] is meaningless,” President Steve Johnson told Modern Shipper around the time of Berkshire Grey’s IPO. “You could be picking 1,200 tennis balls in an hour, but how many are selling? You may be done in two hours. … We’ve seen competitors rip through it, but it’s mispicked. Our solutions are about accuracy; it’s about damage [control] – you want to have no damage, and then the speed ties into all of those.”

In the third quarter, the company expanded on its offerings. In September, it announced that its robotic pick and pack solution, which automates the picking and packing process directly from inventory totes to outbound customer shipping packages, had become available globally. 

And just a week later, it rolled out its Robotic Shuffle Put Wall, an AI-enabled solution that the company says “increases customer order sortation throughput by up to 300% and can accommodate up to 100% of typical SKU assortments, including challenging items such as soft polybags and cylinders/tubes.”

Berkshire Grey also expanded the Berkshire Grey Partner Alliance, a group of consultants, integrators, tech providers and material handling leaders, to include nine partners. Its workforce grew from around 240 employees at the end of 2020 to 400 as of September, as the company continues to expand its presence both domestically and internationally.

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Jack Daleo

Jack is a staff writer for FreightWaves and Modern Shipper covering topics like last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment. He studied at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism with a certificate in integrated marketing communications. Previously, Jack has written for Backpacker Magazine and enjoys travel, the outdoors, and all things basketball.